The hypothesis was put forward by US doctors when the Corona pandemic hit the States - first in a scientific article and then in a Facebook video of a young doctor, operating in New York, which soon became viral. The theory suggested
Covid-19 patients strongly resembled cases of altitude sickness induced pulmonary oedema and could therefore, be treated in the same way. "It is incomprehensible to me that it was possible to publish such a notion, and that the reviewers, i.e. the scientifically responsible experts, had no objection to it", marvels Hermann Brugger, head of the Institute for Alpine Emergency Medicine at Eurac Research - research specialists in the field of high-altitude medicine. "Furthermore, it is downright harmful, if not fatal, to use the drugs and therapies effective for high-altitude pulmonary oedema in Covid patients", emphasises Brugger, who hopes that his appeal will be heard in good time. "At present, pre-prints - professional articles that have not been reviewed - are circulating on the Internet. At present it is these articles which are being published in scientifically renowned journals. Such practice has never before been seen on a such a scale," Brugger points out. It is therefore particularly important to read non-reviewed articles with caution. Many proposed therapies have not yet been validated. "We are in a huge worldwide experiment. In good faith, therapies are used that have not undergone the normal approval processes. At best, this can be to the benefit of the patient, but it is also associated with increased risk," warns the physician.
Together with colleagues from the ISMM (International Society of Mountain and Expedition Medicine), UIAA Medcom (Medical Commission of the International Organization of Alpine Associations) and ICAR Medcom (International Commission for Alpine Emergency Medicine), the research team around Brugger and his institute co-director Giacomo Strapazzon have published an official statement on the differences between the two diseases and why they should not be treated equally. This is followed by a summary excerpt, published in the renowned BMJ (British medical Journal), in High Altitude Medicine & Biology and in the European Respiratory Journal.